Session 5: Cabin Living on Hughe's Ridge

Day 1: On arrival day for session 5, the new crew celebrated Vinicius’ 22nd birthday with surprise cake and ice cream.  This week marks his fourth and final crew week.  His efforts are dearly appreciated and he’ll be sorely missed!

SWEAT Crew Session 5

It was an 11-mile haul from Newfound Gap to Hughes Ridge Cabin.  On the way up, the crew found time to tackle a couple blowdowns and catch some rest at Charlie’s Bunion.  Arriving at the cabin the team was quick to set up tents and take rest, only to be summoned by the aroma of chicken tacos.

Taking a break on the hike in.

Day 2: After yet another long hike to reach the work area’s northern terminus, veteran SWEAT members Handlebar and Randy quickly settled into their brush-busting roles.  Meanwhile Doug showed Richard the finer points of lopping, and Ryan tried his hand at the scythe.  There was more than one person mentioning sore arms on the walk back to camp.  After dinner, the crew gathered over hot cocoa and jokes shared by Randy, Richard and Doug.

Cleaning a waterbar.


Day 3: Randy, Handlebar and Morgan were the certified swing-bladers for the day, while Doug and Richard cleaned waterbars.  It was a productive day owing to clear skies and cool breezes.  With the aim to reach an overlook by quitting time, the crew pushed hard and got there.  Needless to say, the day called for an early bedtime!

Heading back to camp.

Day 4: The crew hit a milestone with their brushing by completing the section north of Peck’s Corner.  That’s a whopping 4.5 miles of serious blowdowns and brush.  Back at the cabin, the victory was celebrated with fried pies and a commemorative game of PELT!, led by Vinicius, the star player.

Morgan taking a well-deserved break.

Day 5: The sun shined on crew #5’s last work day.  Vinicius was especially poised, as it was his final day volunteering with SWEAT.  He and David teamed up on waterbars while the rest of the crew followed Morgan up to Laurel Top.  Eight hours and a lot of sweat later, the crew celebrated a job well done by soaking up some sun at the finish line.

Who knows?

Day 6: During the long hike back, the weather was gracious enough to hold off rain until everyone was virtually in view of the van.  Back at Soak Ash, the entire team stayed overnight so there was always someone raiding the kitchen!

Love the Smokies.